The sun is shining and the pohutukawa are blooming, which means Christmas is just around the corner. It’s a season of joy, festive fun and giving, which can unfortunately lead to a lot of waste – from wrapping paper, bows and ribbons, to packaging that can’t be recycled.
The Sustainability Trust reports that in the week after Christmas, New Zealanders send a staggering 50,000 extra tonnes of waste to the landfill. Let’s all do our bit to reduce waste this silly season and turn it into a greener season!
Sadly, one of the big waste items is gift wrapping paper – just because it has the word paper in it, doesn’t mean it can be recycled.
Metallic and shiny wrapping paper contain foil or metallic pieces which means they can’t be recycled. Ribbons, bows and cellophane are also non-recyclable.
Why not opt for plain paper gift wrap or plain tissue paper, which can go in your recycling bin after being used.
There are plenty of alternative ways to wrap gifts that will not only help save the planet, but also your wallet.
Cloth as gift wrap is a clever way to reduce waste and re-use fabric that may be gathering dust in the cupboard. If you’re the crafty type, you can make funky fabric gift bags that can be reused again and again.
A trendy (and super easy) fabric gift wrapping method is the Japanese art of Furoshiki, where you use cloth and knots to beautifully wrap gifts. There are plenty of YouTube tutorials available – all you need is a piece of square cloth and you’re sorted!
You can also make the packaging part of the gift. For example, you can use a tea towel to wrap a tin of biscuits or add seeds to a garden pot. The result is a fun gift experience where everything is used!
If you still prefer paper wrapping for your gifts, there are plenty of zero waste ways to wrap things up this Christmas.
Lead the way by using old maps as wrapping paper. With all our smart devices, our printed maps may not be used any more, but they make beautiful (recyclable) wrapping paper.
Get your creative juices flowing and make use of paper around the house to create your own recyclable Christmas gift wrap – think of old magazine pages, your children’s artwork, newspaper, old sewing templates or home-printed butcher paper.
And if the gifts you receive are wrapped in non-recyclable paper, unwrap them carefully and keep the paper to use again for gifts!
Happy waste-free festive season!
13 Dec 2022